commentary to opus 21

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Adagio for Organ, op. 21 (1961)


The beginning of the Adagio

First Performance: November 20, 1961, Flensburg, St. Marienkirche
Dieter Weiss

Duration: 7 Minutes

Publisher: N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes) ISMN M-2211-2070-0

Conventus Musicus CM 103

Video: Works by Hummel on youtube

Above a underlying motif, a theme appears and, in the subsequent development, is led through different variations. In contrast to the very restrained tempo and dynamics of the variations, a forte insertion is heard twice, demanding also a faster tempo. After this, the atmosphere of the opening makes a gradual return. The underlying motif sounds once more in extreme pianissimo and closes the work, which was created on the 30th October, 1961 following an improvisation on the Markussen organ in Abenrade (Denmark).

Bertold Hummel

Larry D. Crummer: The Solo Organ Works by Bertold Hummel, Dissertation 1983


Badische Zeitung, 21st / 22nd July, 1962

Bertold Hummel's "Adagio for Organ" seems of finer feelings, as if conceived in a meditation over the sounds available on this instrument. He uses three contrasting themes, formed in part horizontally and in part as functional harmony. These play an endless game of trying to put each other in exposed positions. As these three characters support each other in constantly new structures, a permanent density is achieved, finding its resolution after intensive and concentrated climaxes. The style is powerful and athletic, not without an inclination towards expression of feelings, whereby everything remains under the control of the intellect and of precise acoustic imagination.

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